In addition to Rocky Mountain National Park, I also liked to go to Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge. It is a longer drive from Boulder, especially when the pass across the National Park is closed due to snow. The 23,464-acre wildlife refuge was established to provide suitable nesting and rearing habitat for migratory birds. Spring is a great time to visit as the migrating birds arrive when the snow in the wetlands is melting. There were a lot of birds, some I could identify and others that I need to identify. There are also a lot of prairie dogs.
I spent the day at Rocky Mountain National Park. Early spring, and the upper elevations are still closed due to snow. There were a number of birds and mammals looking for food. I finally was able to identify one of the birds that I took a picture of that day as a Grey-headed Junco. I also spent some time using a 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens to do some landscape images.
Early in the morning I went for a walkabout at Estancia Chiristina. I was rewarded by the sky being lit up at dawn. I am always amazed by the colors of the clouds at dawn and dusk in Patagonia. Later in the morning we went for a horse ride to the glacier. Here they required helmets when riding the horses (which was good). A few images of silhouettes with lenticular clouds, and one of a rainbow over the glacier.
One of the issues I have had with the Nikon 1 “mirrorless” cameras is the lack of wide-angle lens options. The widest angle available with the initial set of lenses was 10 mm f/2.8 prime. This has a 77° field of view (FOV) equivalent to a 27 mm lens on a full-frame (FX) DSLR camera. I like taking wide angle panorama landscape images when traveling. In order to do this with the Nikon 1 camera requires taking several images and then stitching them together during post-processing. Before going to Norway, I saw a note on the internet that the Olympus FCON-T01 Fisheye converter uses the same 40.5 mm thread that the Nikon 1 10 mm f/2.8 lens uses. The 0.74x adapter increases the FOV to something like 20 mm on a FX DSLR camera. I took this combo with me to Norway, and published an image of Greenland from 36,000 feet on Google+.
Since returning from Norway, Nikon released a new wide-angle telephoto lens for Nikon 1 cameras – the 6.7 – 13 mm f/3.5-5.6. At 6.7 mm this lens has a 100° FOV equivalent to a 18 mm lens on a FX DSLR camera. The following three images were taken with the Nikon 1 V2 camera 1) with the 10 mm f/2.8 lens; 2) with the 10 mm f/2.8 lens and the Olympus fisheye converter; and 3) with the 6.7-13 mm lens at 6.7 mm. The wide angle image with the 6.7 mm does not have the fisheye curvature effect. Indeed, when in Norway I found that when I used the Olympus lens I would need to keep the horizon right at the middle of the image. I think that I will be adding the 6.7-13 mm lens to my light-weight travel kit.
Note: Nikon changed the threading on the 6.7-13 mm lens to 52 mm, so I can’t use the Olympus adapter with this lens 😉
Autumn Road Trip in Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park
Panorama at Storm Pass Trail head in Rocky Mountain National Park (along the road to Bear Lake). Composite of 8 images taken with a Nikon D2xs and 28-70 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 45 mm, f/11, 1/20 sec). Image processed using DxO, AutoPano Giga, and Photoshop CS5.
Steller’s Jay in Rocky Mountain National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 70-200 mm f/2.8 VR lens (ISO 100, 200 mm, f/2.8, 1/25 sec). Hand held, VR works! This was a new type of blue jay for me.
Autumn Road Trip in Colorado: Great Sand Dune National Park
I drove from Boulder to southwestern Colorado to visit Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. It was late in the season and very dry, so not many birds remained. I then traveled to Great Sand Dunes National Park. The sky was clear and blue. I took some panorama images of the sand dunes and the dry Medano creek bed. Most of the other folks visiting the the park that day were there to climb and slide down the large sand dunes. I need to revisit both locations in the spring to see the migrating birds at the wildlife refuge, and to see Medano creek with water flowing.
Great Sand Dunes Panorama taken from the Visitor Center. Composite of 7 images taken with a Nikon D2xs and 17-35 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 35 mm, f/11, 1/80 sec). Processed using DxO, AutoPano Giga, Photoshop CS5. 2.
Walking to the dunes with sleds. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 200 mm, f/5.6, 1/1000 sec).
Walking to the dunes with sleds. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 200-400 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/800 sec).
Panorama of the dry Medano creek bed, sand dunes, and Crestone peaks. Composite of 3 images taken with a Nikon D2xs and 17-35 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 17 mm, f/11, 1/40 sec). Processed using DxO, AutoPano Giga, Photoshop CS5.
Reflections at Lilly Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
When ever possible, I stop at Lilly Lake. It is part of Rocky Mountain National Park, but outside the paid access part of the park along Colorado Highway 7. There is a mother duck and eight ducklings sleeping in the shadows on the far side of the lake in the first panorama image. I have also included a closer view of the ducks through a telephoto lens.